Adair requests funding for child advocacy center in county
by James Phillips
Jan 23, 2013 | 1728 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A child advocacy center planned for Walker County is only about 90 days from becoming a reality, District Attorney Bill Adair told the Walker County Commission Tuesday. With the project moving forward, Adair stressed the need for funding and asked commissioners to help with a $10,000 appropriation.

Adair estimated the operating cost for the center to be around $100,000 per year.

He said state funding sources would not be available for up to two years, which makes local donations vital.

“We are asking local groups to step up to the plate and help the children of our county,” Adair said. “We should have an actual physical building in 90 days and we’re going to need funding. This is our first stop, but we will be going around to each city in the county to ask for help.”

The Walker County Child Advocacy Center will serve area children who have been physically or sexually abused or children who have been witnesses to violent crimes. Child victims are currently taken to Prescott House in Birmingham for forensic interviews.

“The Prescott House does an excellent job, but many times the children have to wait in line and it takes a while to get interviews done,” Adair said. “Anything we can do to help those children is a positive. This was my No. 1 priority when I was running for office and it is still my top priority. The children of our county deserve to have a facility like this.”

Adair said an average of five children per week in Walker County need the services an advocacy center would provide.

“We have a high rate of child abuse in our area,” he said. “An advocacy center will allow us to get to the truth of these cases.”

Commission Chairman Billy Luster called the advocacy center a “dream come true” for area law enforcement.

“This is something that has been needed in the county since I was in law enforcement,” he said. “We are going to take a real serious look at it and see what we can do to help.”

In other action, the commission:

•Heard a Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) update from Greg Wilson, who said several CERT training opportunities will be taking place in the near future.

•Appointed Donnie Burns to the East Walker Sewer Authority.